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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Dahlquist

The Amazing Thing About This Julia Cameron Quote

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

When I think of this quote by Julia Cameron, I'm always reminded of an interview I heard with American novelist and freelance journalist Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke). In September of 2020, Tim Ferriss interviewed Palahniuk on the Tim Ferriss podcast, and one topic of discussion that came up included Palahniuk's appreciation for Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift and Trickster Makes This World.

The following is a lightly edited transcript from the Palahniuk interview:

"The other aspect of Lewis Hyde that I’m really fascinated with is in his book The Gift, he writes a great deal about how, according to the Greek and Roman tradition, each of us is born with effectively a guardian angel. But it’s more along the lines of a guide that represents our fullest potential. And this guide wants to see us reach our fullest potential, our greatest form of power. And the ancient Greeks and the Romans, they would make a sacrifice on their birthday to this, whether they called it their genius, or their daemon, or their genie.

...And according to this ancient Greek and Roman idea is that if you fulfill your potential, if you sacrifice and you develop your skills, that are kind of your destiny, according to this, this potential you’re born with then you free that guardian spirit, so that that guardian spirit can move on to another level.

In effect, you are freeing the genie from the bottle. And if you do it wrong, the genie has to go back into the bottle. According to the Greeks and the Romans, if you did it wrong, then the genie, the daemon, the genius becomes a malevolent household spirit that will destroy you and destroy your home. And how many of us kind of know a creative person who just didn’t follow through with it, and ended up drinking, and doing drugs, and kind of destroying their lives, because they didn’t have the whatever to really pursue the passion that should have been their destiny?

...When I’m writing, all of that negative, all that anxiety goes into the work and my life is so peaceful and so productive....when you’re really deep in a project, there is a sense that you’re so protected and so embraced by something that nothing bad can happen to you. You really feel like you’re just completely protected when you’re in the creative act. And when you’re not, you’re just completely anxious." - Chuck Palahniuk

Find the full transcript on Tim Ferriss's blog here: palahniuk-transcript/)

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